Is It Possible to Have Genital Warts Without Having Sexual Contact?
Although genital warts are a common, widespread sexually transmitted disease (STD), you can get them without having a sexual contact (referred to as any type of sexual intercourse). There are various patterns of sexual behavior that could help transmit the infection.
Main Risk Factors for Genital Warts
Genital warts, also known as venereal warts, are caused by some strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Generally, these strains are highly infectious and spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with the infected area. The type of sexual intercourse mainly includes genital, anal, or oral sex with an infected person, hand-to-genital contact, as well as the use of contaminated sex toys. Also, you can get a genital HPV strain when kissing. This may happen, for example, when your partner had performed oral sex (fellatio or cunnilingus) on an infected person and got genital warts in her or his mouth. You kiss your partner and catch the virus.
Keep in mind that genital warts are external or internal painless bumps. In women, they can appear on the vulva or in the vagina, on the cervix, around or inside the anus. In men, genital warts can be detected on or around the penis, scrotum, urethra, and around or inside the anus. So, being painless and invisible bumps, you may not notice any warts and symptoms. And you may not be aware of the problem for a long time. However, there is one thing that will calm you down: non-genital warts, such as warts on fingers and toes, can never be transmitted to the genitals.
These factors highly increase the risk of getting genital warts:
- Not knowing whether your partner has a genital HPV infection or not;
- Having sexual contact with a person with a past history of genital warts (or any other STD);
- Having a vaginal or anal sexual intercourse without a male or female condom;
- Having oral sex without a condom or dental dam;
- Sharing sex toys (vibrators, dildos, etc.);
- Using alcohol or drugs in a situation where an intimate contact might occur.
How to Avoid Genital Warts
- Practicing safe sex is a number one precaution against genital warts, any other STD, as well as AIDS. So, use condoms and dental (vaginal) dams. The latter are also made of latex and are available in various flavors. Dental dams prevent any fluid from entering your mouth.
- Do not share sex toys and if you do, always clean them after you use them. They may have infected fluids, such as blood, vaginal fluid, faeces, etc. on them.
- Certain forms of sexual behavior, such as massage, touching, hugging, and masturbation are considered less risky.
- However, only full abstinence from sex is what gives you 100 percent safety.